No, I am not referring to someone getting old and learning to accept they need a walking frame that works.
Instead just for fun twist and a different reflective perspective imagine if the EYLF was the OYLF for a minute. Where managers supported staff learning and development. Read through the EYLF and replace everywhere it says child with staff. I find often employees don’t have a sense of belonging, being and becoming due to being managed from a top down, controlling approach. Where management are not reflective of their own behaviour and how it can affect someone’s Belonging, Being and Becoming. If you are a ‘manager’ reflect on how you allow your staff to learn and grow. Do you think it is important for staff to have this same environment of learning where they are supported by their managers?
Do you support your colleagues’ sense of belonging, being and becoming?
Lifelong learning allows us to grow as individuals and this is life for me, learning and growing to be better versions of ourselves. When I learn something new and persevere through challenges I grow and become stronger. Alongside learning with setting our goals can help us to reach our dreams. I’m not referring to learning necessarily as formal or large amounts of learning. It is about listening to staff and their aspirations and ideas and supporting them holistically through day to day mentored learning. To allow them to be themselves and and feel empowered.
Support your staff to learn and grow through sharing their ideas and being themselves. They are less likely to fly away and more likely to soar to great heights where they are being supported and not restricted.
Read the five outcomes should all staff be entitled to this?
How can your service ensure staff have some of these opportunities for BBB?
through management support?
Does your service environment and management support your staff to have a sense of belonging, being and becoming? If not how could you change this? Perhaps brainstorm with your staff as a team on these. Take learning through play. Play is an activity that should be enjoyable and an opportunity to learn. How do staff feel enjoyment in what they do at your service?
Consider secure, respectful reciprocal relationships is this supported by management at your service? Here is an example of this not occurring. Management does a top down approach and tell staff what to do in order for management to feel their own sense of control. Staff come up with ideas but they are not allowed to be implemented. Staff feel they are not listened to and all their creativity is stifled. Staff loose all sense of enjoyment and sense of BBB because management doesn’t communicate both ways, instead they tell and don’t listen to ideas or implement them. Staff now continue to do their job, but not with quality because they feel they have lost their voice, feel no freedom to be creative, undervalued and uninspired and unappreciated. Staff eventually leave and new staff need to be trained. Continuity of staff doesn’t exist because management blames staff for being incompetent and lets them go because they don’t see they can possibly fix the situation.
It is important for managers to consider how their own behaviours contribute to service quality and compliance. This is because quality area 7 can affect all areas.
To improve your knowledge, behaviour and attitude as a manager, we need to be able to continue to learn who we are (being HONEST with ourselves) to be able to grow and build relationships.
Who are you truly? Do people know the real you?
Don’t be an aggressive tiger or a passive kitty talk about how you feel and communicate respectfully.
Big tigers are often masked as insecure kitty cats.
Consider ongoing learning and reflective practice. For this principle this is one of my most favourite techniques. It was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingaham. It is used to help people to better understand who they are by looking at the relationship they have with themselves and with others. The four boxes represent four window panes in a window with each pane representing a different type ‘ourselves’. The idea is to open up make number 1 as large as you can. To do this you need to share information about who you are (including your vulnerabilities) and take on board feedback from others.
To see your behaviours from other perspectives that you may not have noticed. This can be challenging and rewarding.
For example, let’s say you get controlling as a manger and tell staff what to do, rather than leading. You communicate aggressively at times. How do you know you do this do you observe your behaviours and listen to your self-talk? If you notice your behaviour can improve do you say to staff, I am aware that sometimes I can be very directive and I am trying strategies to remain calmer by not reacting and being more responsive in my communication and interactions.
Do you think they will consider you human, someone aware of their faults and brave enough to change? Will this build your relationship?
If you are not a manager but you have difficulties with your managers are their ways you could continue to grow and create that in your current employment? Can you behave in an assertive manner to give feedback?
Share with someone in a trusting relationship, something about yourself something that they don’t know about you. Then watch your relationship and yourself grow. Sharing will also build the trust.
What knowledge can you gain about yourself, of your strengths and areas of improvement from others? Perhaps listen and observe how staff respond to you and reflect.
Perhaps read the following dot points and reflect on them. To see our strengths where we can improve. You could choose one at a time, one you feel you need to strengthen and then reflect on it. The first dot point has an example of how you could do this by changing the point into questions.
- take ownership and reduce the blame (Do I blame others? Why do I think I am perfect? Did I contribute to that situation? Could I have improved my actions? Continue to ask questions to think about your behaviours)
- considering how your behaviour can affect your staff’s belonging, being and becoming (Does my…)
- be open minded and listen to your own thoughts and observe your own behaviour (Am I? How can I…)
- embrace who we are with gratitude and a positive attitude and do the same for others.
- have courage to face and challenge our fears and biases we have as individuals
- be honest with ourselves
- listen to feedback from others about ourselves
- open to sharing more about yourself and facing your vulnerabilities
- use assertive communication and listen to others.
- implement change with a shared vision
What other qualities does a leader need?
Are you confident in your abilities? Are you willing to change your habits of a life time that may be restricting you?
It’s difficult facing our challenges but the journey and / or outcome is rewarding
Consider the manager has a new role to fill and two existing employees are candidates for the role. The manager employs the candidate they feel is better equipped for the role. The manager feels one is not assertive enough for the role and feels the employee is never happy with processes and always complaining. The two candidates are long term employees. If the manager dug deeper to see why employees were behaving this way then they may see how they can possibly contribute to the behaviours of the employee. What is this employee not doing from OYLF?
Were they respectful and did they have high expectations in the situation for all staff and challenge any inequalities? As managers need to reflect and ask how did I contribute? How could I have done better and how? If the manager can’t see issues then ask for feedback and really listen. The employee in this scenario could have responded with she found processes unfair as the job was handed to the other staff member without interview, and I was the last of the team to be informed of your decision. If the manager still can’t see how they could have changed practices or behaviour the situation will grow in the same direction. A culture will be created by the manager saying these behaviours are acceptable, as they lead by example. This reinforces the staff member who was successful in the job to continue in her new role with the same behaviours she has because she was rewarded for them. The service member now feels no sense of BBB and team cohesion is lost as staff members for alliances. If nothing changes this staff member may spread their wings elsewhere.
Look at situations without blaming others or negative judgement or biases and see how you behaved and how you could have improved your skills. I am not saying your behaviour is like these example scenarios but after an interaction, reflect to see how you can change by looking at the OYLF, Johari window and the above dot points.
When you have behaved in ways that could be improved take ownership, apologise and change where necessary.
Do you like what you see in your own behaviour? What can be improved?
Can you be strong enough to look in the mirror and make a change and not be a chicken?
I hope this blog has planted a seed for you to grow and bloom.